I was a little girl in the fifth grade growing up trying to find myself. My hair was brunette, and always cut into some hideous mush-room cut. I looked like a little boy. It was so uneven. It was humiliating. I embraced it. My mom wasn’t exactly a hair-stylist, but she gave me home-made hair-cuts. It was all we could afford. I appreciated it.
I never liked dolls. I hated barbies. I liked playing sports in my backyard. I liked playing with toy cars and making them race each-other. I liked playing with marbles. I was a tom-boy. I was so ridiculously weird. This has made my life a little complicated.
You wouldn’t know all that looking at me today. I learned how to become a classy looking lady who embraces make-up, high-heels, and beautiful dresses. I come across women who hate me and judge me for my outside without knowing my inside. I come across men who feel rejected by me and tear me to pieces because I can be so choosy.
It often makes me wonder why people take rejection so harshly when rejection is all I’ve ever known. It’s like I’m a mean person because I don’t want to live in places of hurt I’ve already been. It’s like I’m a mean person because I have empathy and in the end I know I still have to stay loyal to my dreams. It’s like I can never win.
It often brings me right back to that little girl. The little girl who dreamed of the day I’d have friends. The little girl who had none. I remember waking up every day knowing that I was going to school to another day of being bullied. I rarely ever stood up to my bullies. I always took it. I always showed compassion. I always showed forgiveness.
I remember the days I’d go home crying, burying my tears into my pillow cases. I’d open up journals and I’d start writing. I’d wrip up the pages and throw them out. I’d hide out in my books and I’d read. I felt like the characters in the books became my friends. I fell in love with the fantasy world that so many authors created for little girls being bullied like me. There are so many authors who don’t even realize how much of a gift they are for those of us who had to endure bullying.
I read and I read and through my reading I learned about people. I had a dream. I had a vision. I dreamed that one day I’d find my place in the world. I never had nice clothes. I always wore hand-me-downs from my older sister or clothes my mother purchased at a thrift shop. She never had the best taste in fashion. She still instilled into me the attitude of gratitude and what it means to be grateful for what you have. I never got to have the nicest gadgets all the other students in my class always had. There were days I was envious. There were days I was jealous.
I’d always run home: “Mommy, can I have this?”
and she’d always reply: “No, we can’t afford it.”
I was pretty much a loner. The ugly kid in the class. I look back remembering how I was made to feel, and every day of my life that little girl has never left me.
I still remember us setting goals and on those goal sheets the assistant teacher made us write. I remember the assistant teacher got to me and I wrote down: “I want to be an author.” She looked at me and how lonely I felt in the world. She took her red pen and she wrote: “I hope one day I see your name on a book.”
I’ve carried this dream with me throughout my life even when most of the time I think I fail at it. It’s the only thing that ever stays with me. Friends come and friends go. Boyfriends pretend to love me, and boyfriends leave me. I cry sometimes thinking: The world is so unfair.
It’s in those tears I learned to pour my heart out. I never saw myself as a writer. I saw myself as someone with a hobby. It was my way of not dealing with the world. As a little girl. I learned the world could be quite cruel.
I grew up. I got a makeover. I made friends. The friends I made were not genuine. When I got hurt in my teenage years. I wasn’t hurt for being bullied. I was hurt because I was being used. I was a vulnerable spirit living in a world I wasn’t prepared for thinking that once I was noticed the world would be kind to me. The world actually made me feel more empty.
Disappointment after disappointment. Failure after failure. Betrayal after betrayal. Break up after break up. It went on into my young adulthood. I started feeling sorry for myself wondering what I was doing so wrong? I started attracting pain and pain started attracting me. It was my normal.
I found rock bottom. If you’ve been there you know the desperate state you’re in. I just knew in my heart there was a better way of life. I looked for it and never found it. I found a bunch of friends. I wasn’t fulfilled. It’s like I always felt like a part of me was missing. I always felt like I was compromising who I was. I started hearing everybody around me telling me how I was never good enough to be them. It was like I was trapped in a box of other peoples dreams instead of my own. I started to believe the lies. I started to think I need to change myself so they will like me. I realized the harder you try at anything. The more people who will come to break you down. I kept getting broken down. The destructive patterns just wouldn’t stop.
I thought I was able to do it by myself and I had to learn that throughout life we all need teachers. We all need people who will mentor us and show us the ropes. I often thought about the American Dream and running away to Hollywood. I think we all have those dreams sometimes. Hollywood is just the screen. Everything that we become starts with who we already are. It just becomes magnified once we start living in our purpose.
I had to accept that I wasn’t perfect, and that I had fallen down. I fell down into the mentality of playing the victim card. Playing that card always attracts the wrong people. The people who prey on our vulnerabilities. I had to remind myself that the past is not the future. I had to continue on in the girl I already was and embrace her. There are so many things in life that are put there to destroy us, to put fear in us, and we need to know who we are so that who we are is always enough.
Now I know what it means to be a dreamer. It means to live up to people who already been there and allow them to teach you how to grow. It was the day I understood that – I had a different attitude towards everything. The hard part about this different attitude is you look back and you see the people who treat you like you’re a competition, and it’s not a competition. There is a path and a lane for everyone. Sometimes you look back with empathy and other times you move forwards with dignity. I learned you can’t please everyone. People will hate you if you put yourself first. People will hate you if you put yourself last.
That’s never the end goal. The end goal is to fight so hard for your dreams that you’re in a place to give back. You can’t give what you don’t have. I think so many times we try so hard for the image. We forget to create the lifestyle.
”Reflections,” by Christina Aguilera is on top volume blaring through my headphones. I know I’m always listening to old classics every time I sit down to write. It helps me connect with my inner-self, my emotions, and the deepest part of my soul. It’s a song about change. It’s a song about wanting to see a transformation from the us we hideto the us we long to share with the world.
I guess that’s the time of year were at right now as we all walk around saying: “Happy New Year.” It feels like the only appropriate way to greet somebody during this week. We see it like some kind of accomplishment that the years have switched over and were still here.
Many of us have finished several holiday parties. Many of us have finished having several family gatherings. We all got to see people we probably ignore for the rest of the year for whatever reason. We really shouldn’t do that. When you look at peoples regrets in their latter years ; one of their biggest regrets is not spending enough time with their loved ones. I understand life gets in the way. I understand different personality types aren’t always easy. I understand life gets busy. I still believe even the hardest person to love needs love. People do better when they feel loved.
A wise friend of mine once told me: “Irene, all that matters at the end of the day is the people in your life you care about know you cared about them.” It’s true. I think it’s so important to value the people you cherish. I actually saw my sister over the holidays, and she surprised me with a wonderful gift. That gift meant everything to me. I’m very gracious for it.
Many of us have opened gifts over the holidays. Many of us have prayed over Christmas dinners. The celebration time is over. The self-reflection time has begun.
Everybody has been making new year’s resolutions.
“I want to be more successful.”
“I need a better car.”
“I want to lose those 20 lbs.”
“I want to go to the gym more.”
We tell ourselves exactly how were going to achieve our new goal. We toss our old goals out the window. We tell ourselves to leave the past where it belongs. We try to create the impossible out of the future. We start the year out chasing the future only to finish it off dwelling back in the past.
We forget to just enjoy the moment. We forget to meditate in the present and find clarity in the bigger picture.
What’s the bigger picture?
The bigger picture is the dream we constantly tell ourselves we will make happen one day. We put that dream off and push it twenty years into the future. Time doesn’t stop for us and we for some reason stop for time.
We ignore the small steps we need to take to reach it. We walk towards the big steps that lead us right into somebody else’s dream. We complain. We distract ourselves so much inside our comfort zone. We forget to climb out of it and start somewhere.
Why do we do that?
We do it because we allow fear in, doubt in, and insecurity in. We believe in what’s already been done. We lose confidence in ourselves.
I challenge you to three things in this new year.
#1. Listen to your inner-voice
Your inner-voice is telling you exactly what you want to do. The people around you are telling you you can’t do it. You’ve probably had these new year’s resolutions for three years now and you keep putting them off because you’re chasing the dreams of the people around you instead of the dreams of your inner-voice.
#2. Don’t make a new’s years resolution
New year’s resolutions were made to be broken. Go back to your dream that has been following you around for three years now. You think about it so much because you want to do it. You want to do it so bad. It will always be there until you do it.
Go back and finish what you started before you start something new. To know you accomplished something that you’ve been dwelling on doing for three years will make you feel more fulfilled than a new years resolution you know you’re going to fail at.
#3. Pick a healthy habit and do it every day.
Success starts from inside and then it shines through on the outside. The way we treat our bodies matters. The way we treat our minds matters. It all creates the energies / auras we carry around that everybody else around us receives.
It doesn’t have to be something big. It could be something so simple. If you like taking walks – take a walk. If you like listening to music – listen to music. Choose every day to do it for fifteen minutes to influence yourself in a positive light.
Free your soul. Free your mind. Allow yourself to be at ease with you. Once you are you can truly go into the new year focused, and putting all of your energy into what you really want. I want to see us all start this year motivated and leave it fulfilled. Stop escaping in distractions. Start escaping into your dreams. Were all in a transformation process and the attitude we have during it is going to produce the results at the end of it.